Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

7th century
Pakistan (Swat Valley)
Brass with silver and copper inlay
H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm); W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation, Anonymous, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert H. Kinney, and Nancy Fessenden Gifts; John Stewart Kennedy and Rogers Funds, by exchange; Gifts of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, Mrs. Jacob M. Kaplan, and Samuel Eilenberg, by exchange, 2012
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 237
This is one of the greatest early medieval metal icons associated with Buddhist art of the Swat Valley. The work is closely connected to related major schools of religious image making in Gilgit (northern Pakistan) and Kashmir, and its physiognomy and drapery embodies elements of the late Gandharan style. The four-armed form of Avalokitesvara marks the beginning of a long tradition of figures known as the “Bodhisattva of the six-syllables,” associated with the famous prayer “Om Manipade Hum.” This iconographic form is a visualization of that prayer.
Christie's, London , 27th March 1972, lot 184; Leonidas Goulandris until 2012; [sold to Carlton Rochell, Ltd., 2012, New York]
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